Clau­dia Ed­ward and Band a hit at Bur­ton Agnes Jazz & Blues Fes­ti­val

The Star (St. Lucia) - - ENTERTAINMENT - By An­nie O’Don­nell

The lawn is lit­tered with seated, danc­ing, walk­ing peo­ple, ac­ro­batic chil­dren in a girl dance band ri­val­ing Di­ver­sity . . . play­ing bat and ball in the gen­tle breeze in July sum­mer sun.

Cap­ti­vat­ing Clau­dia Ed­ward and her prize catch of gem-stud­ded licks, flicks, plucks and fly­ing sticks tightly pulled to­gether in a band of jump­ing, jiv­ing, jam­ming, soul diving mu­sic and vo­cals are revving up the au­di­ence as if it were in the Lon­don Arena, Al­bert Hall.

She is a ris­ing star straight out of St Lu­cia. Her orig­i­nal songs sound like hits straight out of the oven. In her ren­di­tion of BB King’s ‘The Thrill is Gone’, her deep bass growl of a voice holds you in its warmth. She has a ‘Goose­bumps sing the Blues’ voice and Louis Arm­strong ap­peared in my mind’s eye and ears as if her deep voice was his. Shirley Bassey ap­peared as well. She has her own voice and is true to her­self; she has the same bless­ing of the generals afore­men­tioned.

Ex­cel­lent dic­tion, en­gages with au­di­ence . . . she shines with the sun who is here to lis­ten to and shine on her as she sings with pas­sion and her smil­ing face and soul.

I walk right up to the front of the stage.

Make con­nec­tion, get on the page.

She fin­ishes with a beau­ti­ful, orig­i­nal ‘There’s Some­thing About You’.

Randy Henry, drum­mer, played real tight snare sound with ket­tle­drum. Jump­ing smi­ley beans style. At 8 p.m. Clau­dia and band play in the tent. It is packed with an au­di­ence that doesn’t need to be asked to par­tic­i­pate as she belts out ‘Don’t You Worry About a Thing’.

She says the next song is hers but Tof­fee, her dy­namic lead gui­tarist, wants to sing it and his mes­mer­iz­ing unique blues soul voice grabs me as he sings ‘Here I am, Come Take me’. Boy Ge­orge comes to mind. I close my eyes and I know why as his voice washes over me.

Si­mon Cun­liffe-Lis­ter joins the band with the song ‘Brown Skin’ with his scream­ing sax solo fus­ing with Randy jump­ing up and down with his sticks tap­ping any­where in or around him. KC Aure­lian merges bass with drum so we have night­club sound. Then, Tof­fee melts his reg­gae blues funk en­ergy soul to sing through his gui­tar.

Sim­ply put, this band was a hit in the fes­ti­val. I could have lis­tened to them all day. What else can I say? En­core, en­core, en­core!

Clau­dia Ed­ward and the Naked Chords band.

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